The 29th Annual HAL Awards, Beverly Hills Hotel, Sunday 23rd September 2018
A big thank you to Debra Burley from Publicity for my Media Pass.
"Nearly thirty years ago, celebrated songwriter and Motown alumna, Janie Bradford learned that students pursuing degrees in music, art, theatre and other creative areas had few options in funding their dreams. Unlike sports and traditional academics, scholarships for performing arts students were scarce. She set out to meet that need.
On September 23, 1990, the very first Tribute To Heroes And Legends Awards Dinner was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Miss Andrea Johnson was awarded the very first HAL Scholarship. Since that night, Janie Bradford’s HAL Scholarship Fund has awarded over seventy scholarships to young people with tremendous talent and big dreams!" - Take from https://halawards.com/wp/about-us/
Undisputed Truth, Keith Washington, McKinley Jackson, Switch, Art Stewart
and Deniece Williams
Full Interview with Joe Harris and Lloyd G Williams from Undisputed Truth will be available shortly.
I had the pleasure of securing a Media Pass around 11am on Sunday 23rd September to attend the above even. I literally had 4 hours to get ready. Yes once again this was Esther last minute dot com, but I got there in time. I could barely breathe. My hands shook as I hurriedly shaved my legs, trying not to take my skin off in the process. Beaver striped legs were not a sexy look.
Even in the midst of the most incredible challenges, when you are on purpose and in purpose, the most incredible challenges often present themselves to you, to test you to see if you reach out and take them and keep running or if you will stall and falter. For me something happened three weeks ago, in the UK while I was in the US, it was a matter of needing to protect my family, however, I made the decision to stay for a few more weeks. If I had left the US, this opportunity to attend the Awards would never have opened up to me. What this situation tested was my faith. My faith in the process. My faith that everything would work out ok. My faith in knowing that this was the decision I needed to make at this moment in time, in the midst of all that was going on, because the results from this would be what supported me in moving forward with my dream and purpose and would eventually in some way help me with my family situation. To help me manage with everything I meditated, prayed, did yoga and exercised. I needed to keep myself strong physically and mentally.
Therefore I felt privileged; I felt overwhelmed at getting into this event. I was mega, mega excited, oh and a little anxious. Why? Well for one, I was attending a red carpet event at the prestigious Beverly Hills Hotel to be in the presence of legends and I only had a few hours to prepare and research artists who'd be on the red carpet. Thank heavens for Wi-Fi and Google. Secondly, I hoped the one decent dress I'd packed could still fit. My body had a way of spreading since I hit 50 and I am not the sort of gal who coped well with wobbly bits and body bits going sideways. Thirdly, I'd be wearing heels, and being a hardened Dr Marten girl, who pounded the pavements in boots most times, wearing heels was going to be interesting. I was having thoughts of getting my heels caught in the grass whilst reaching for a glass of bubbly and getting photographed as I went down sideways. Or visions of tottering and stumbling into one of the nominees whilst gushing 'congratulations but can you please catch me before I fall?'
So as the Uber driver pulled up to the entrance of the Hotel, I could feel my nerves try to take over as I mentally repeated 'suck belly in, walk tall, don't trip. Suck belly in, walk tall, don't trip.' The car door was opened for me by one of the bell boys and I felt like Cinderella. One sexy leg after the other, I stepped out of the car, sunglasses on, I felt like Royalty and curbed the urge to do the British royal wave.
The Beverly Hills Hotel is a stunning hotel and I automatically felt myself walking tall. Class and prestige required a certainly demur. There was an air of busyness, preparation and excitement as I was shown to where the Red Carpet event would commence. I was quite tired and mentally fatigued as I'd had an incredulously busy week and worried slightly that I wouldn't remember names of artists as they waltzed in. Like I said before, thank heavens for Google and wi-fi. It would be of bad taste and professional suicide to greet one of the Supremes with a 'So what was it like being part of The Four Tops?' or something silly and crass like that.
The Red Carpet event to me went seamlessly. Appetisers (many of which I could barely pronounce, but they tasted real good) and bubbly flowed. Friends who had not seen each other in years greeted with smiles and laughter. There was often a burst of song as people hugged and took group selfies. A light buzz of anticipation and excitement was in the air. Lenny Williams Singer and Songwriter was the first to take to the carpet and did he carry himself well, attired splendidly. Each artist, I felt was dressed beautifully and wore smiles that dazzled with pride. It was humbling to be in the presence of such great artists, many who were still performing whilst also doing incredible humanitarian work in the background or working on projects to give back to the community. The event was to honor legends but also to grant sponsorship to young people and one young gentleman, Julien Jones, who attended with his parents (who I did not get time to talk to) stood tall, maybe a little nervous but tall and proud all the same and I sincerely wish him all the very very best. I could only imagine how his parents were feeling. In the midst of all the negativity that we are sometimes bombarded with about young people, Julien Jones was certainly someone to celebrate. This young man is an upcoming music producer and will be studying at the USC School of Music this year.
Janie Bradford certainly knew how to put on an event whose ethos was to honor and celebrate and the energy of success and support flowed strong. These legends were people who knew where they had come from and what it took to get to where they were. These were people still full of aspirations for their lives and for the lives of others. These were ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things and doing it wonderfully, influencing and impacting our lives with their music, their art, their essence.
I wasn't able to stay until the end of the award ceremony but the time spent on the Red Carpet was an experience I will always remember. My feet were hurting as I grimaced through the afternoon, being told, what a pretty smile I had. That was not a smile if was a grimace as the pain in my feet was not funny. However, my sandals were rather pretty and (quite expensive) however nonetheless, I made it through as I limped to my waiting carriage - Uber to drive me back to my air bnb.
For me celebrity means people who are artists whose essence is of heart and soul, peace and love and whose passion it is to use their art, their skills, their gifts to reach out, to touch and inspire into peoples lives.
And so a Huge Handclap goes out to Janie Bradford for all the wonderful work she is doing along with her team.
I asked each artist to say hello to all of you in the UK. Esther Austin Global Representing ….globally.
If you want to find out more about the awards click here: https://halawards.com/wp/awards-dinner/2018-hal-awards-scholarship-dinner/
The above are 'The Temptations Review."